Match report: PNE 0 Everton 0 (aet PNE win 7-6 on penalties)

Preston North End held their nerve in a penalty shoot-out to beat Everton in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 9:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 11:46 pm
Josh Earl and Melle Meulensteen in action for PNE's youth team against Everton
Josh Earl and Melle Meulensteen in action for PNE's youth team against Everton

The 90 minutes and extra-time at Deepdale failed to produce a goal, and it was North End who were sharper from the spot to see off the Premier League visitors.

Michael Howard, Melle Meulensteen, Josh Earl, Oscar O'Neil, goalkeeper Callum Roberts, Jack Burgoyne and Harry Garstang all scored their penalties for North End.

Roberts was then the hero, saving Michael Collins' penalty - he had also saved from Ryan Harrington - to book PNE a home tie with AFC Wimbledon in the fifth round.

PNE goalkeeper Callum Roberts

North End had produced a strong first half performance, Cameron Day heading against the post just before the interval.

It was Everton who went on to enjoy the better of the second half play but the home side held firm against their pressure to take the game into extra-time.

Meulensteen had the contest's first chance, the Preston skipper shooting over the bar from 20 yards after being played in by Alex Wood.

They went on to have plenty of the play in the opening half an hour, Wood and Earl busy in wide areas, with Meulensteen showing some good touches in a role off the striker.

Josh Earl gets up high in PNE's clash with Everton

Earl had a sight of goal when a punched clearance from Everton keeper Ben Pierce landed in his path in the box, his curling shot hitting Morgan Feeney on the head and behind for a corner.

Wood tried his luck with a right foot shot from outside the box which Pierce got behind to gather comfortably.

The visitors' first chance of real note did not come until the 37th minute, Danny Bramall's cross bouncing into the path of Jack Kiersey on the edge of the box, the Everton skipper pulling his shot wide.

As the interval approached, Meulensteen's pass across the edge of the box found Kian Smart but his shot on the turn was blocked by Feeney.

Alex Wood in action for PNE

North End struck the woodwork in first-half stoppage-time, a Meulensteen free-kick from the left travelling to Day who put a header against the far post.

In the early stages of the second half, Earl got on the end of Meulensteen's corner but could only direct his header at the keeper.

Dylan Davidson created a chance for himself in the 58th minute, stepping inside and working the ball on to his left foot, his shot struck powerfully enough but too close to Pierce who saved.

The game became stretched as the second half went on, both teams tiring.

PNE goalkeeper Callum Roberts

In the 83rd minute, a long range shot from Liam Morris was held at the second attempt by Roberts.

Everton's late pressure continued, with Fraser Hornby's far post header taking a touch off a Preston player and going wide, while Kiersey's cheeky back heel from Ryan Harrington's low cross travelled just wide of the target.

The first half of extra-time produced little in the way of goalmouth action but there was a let-off for North End two minutes into the second half as a Hornby header was scrambled to safety off the line by the combined efforts of Roberts and Tom Stead.

In the 120th minute, PNE substitute Garstang fired just over from the edge of the box after a weaving run.

In the shoot-out, both sides scored their first three penalties, with Howard, Meulensteen and Earl netting for Preston.

Wood then saw his penalty saved, only for Manasse Mampala to fire over the bar to keep things level.

Josh Earl gets up high in PNE's clash with Everton

O'Neil, son of former North End midfielder Brian O'Neil, made it 4-3 to the home side, Everton then levelling things up.

Roberts turned from gamekeeper to poacher to put PNE 5-4 up from the spot and after Alex Denny converted to bring the visitors on par, the advantage swung their way when PNE sub Stead saw his penalty saved.

But Roberts kept Preston in it, saving from Harrington as it stayed 5-5.

Burgoyne made it 6-5 to PNE, Feeney scored to make it 6-6, then Garstang stepped up to put North End ahead again.

Then it was time for more Roberts heroics as he went the right way to parry Collins' effort.

PNE: Roberts, Creech, Day (Stead 80), Burgoyne, Campbell, Smart (Garstang 73), O'Neil, Wood, Meulensteen, Earl, Davidson (Howard 116). Subs (not used): Mason, Cottam.

Everton: Pierce, Morris, Lees, Feeney, Harrington, Moore (Mampala 99), Kiersey, Denny, Bramall (Collins 105), Hornby, Lavery (Baningime 35). Subs (not used): Scully, Hilton.

Referee: Ricky Wootton (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 623

Alex Wood in action for PNE